Pulp Fiction Practices

There is a zen to life that cannot be communicated if asked to share it. It can only be sensed.

It is almost like a yoga pose where one slowly contorts into the posture, and with eyes closed, settles into the trance. The pose itself might be static, but the state of holding that pose is highly active. That is how I like to think of the times I settle into a reflective mood. I bring together a bunch of problems and situations, and then I retire mentally to chew on it. Never have I come out of such an exercise the worse for it. Mulling over these knots in life, viewed and questioned from multiple perspectives and deconstructing them always puts my mind at ease.

I have mulled over many important questions, questions that crop up in conversations, where the other person animatedly strikes upon their new-found ideas and strives to impress upon me to take some or the other action immediately. These are the people to whom I would want to gently take a packing tape and pat it soothingly over their mouth with a calming “ssshhhhh”.

Those who rave about the Benedict Cumberbatch/Martin Freeman atrocity polluting the world with its toxic content are some of those humans that I want to duct tape and truss up with cooking twine.I’d even hold their nose and insert a shiny red apple in their mouth. Unlike the absolutely delightful depiction of Hercule Poirot by the consummate David Suchet, Cumberbatch and team have managed to shred to bits the marvelous canon of Sherlock Holmes beyond recognition.

Such impassioned fantasies come up because I think I am starting to set up a holiday tradition for myself of reading Sherlock Holmes towards the end of the year. I grab one of several copies of Sherlock Holmes, settle down and read about Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson running around Victorian England, solving crimes and living a bohemian life of thrills and suspense. It is a throwback to simpler times when all I wanted was to become a detective of sorts. I used to go around studying people and practicing various sleuthing techniques growing up. Even today, I look for classic gumshoe collections. Feluda, The Three Investigators, Sam Spade, Perry Mason, Ellery Queen, even Ted Mark’s The Man from O.R.G.Y.

If I told anyone that my zen comes from imagining myself method acting a detective making his way through the puzzle that is life, I won’t blame them for backing away slowly, without sudden movements.

That is also the reason why I never dance. It breaks character. Gumshoes are supposed to lounge around, blend in, be snarky and rough and gruff. They just down whiskeys, are washed out, and talk about exes in Texas.

“There are many men in London, you know, who, some from shyness, some from misanthropy, have no wish for the company of their fellows. Yet they are not averse to comfortable chairs and the latest periodicals. It is for the convenience of these that the Diogenes Club was started, and it now contains the most unsociable and unclubbable men in town. No member is permitted to take the least notice of any other one. Save in the Stranger’s Room, no talking is, under any circumstances, allowed, and three offences, if brought to the notice of the committee, render the talker liable to expulsion. My brother was one of the founders, and I have myself found it a very soothing atmosphere.”


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